Australian Government coat of arms

Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Australian of the Year Finalists Morning Tea

25 January 2016


Prime Minister



Well thank you very much Gerard and to our 2015 Australians of the Year, the 2016 Australian of the Year finalists, ladies and gentlemen. Friends, here we are on the eve of Australia Day. There has never been a more exciting time to be a finalist in the 2016 Australian of the Year finals!

Now Lucy and I are really delighted to welcome you to The Lodge today, this is the first function at The Lodge since it has been renovated and since we moved in so you could say this is our housewarming party so we’re thrilled that you’re here!

It’s great that so many of you demonstrate that selflessness, that passion, that practical patriotism that is what makes this the most remarkable country. It gives everyone such confidence, such inspiration to do, to bring out more of their better selves when they see the example that you provide. You are shining examples of our best selves. Of what we can do and you represent all that is good in our nation. Selfless, dedicated, creative, innovative, pragmatic, practical.

Each of you has followed your own calling, responding to what has spoken most emphatically to your ethics and your values. And you’re motivated by the purest incentive – improving the lives of those around you.

It is a great honour for all of you to have been nominated and you have the respect as you know of all your fellow Australians.

You also have their attention – you’ve been rewarded, commended for your leadership in different fields of expertise and we want to learn what you know, understand your causes and share your passions.

And if you’re wondering how to discharge the responsibility of your new positions, look no further than the 2015 Australians of the Year, who are here with us today.

They’ve all served in their roles with great distinction, devotion and dedication to the nation and I want to thank them all as the Prime Minister.

Can I also particularly thank the 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.

Her appointment marked a very significant turning point in our nation’s response to family, domestic violence, violence against women and children. It really was a watershed.

Rosie, you have been a tireless advocate, an inspiring, charismatic leader on this issue. You’ve suffered a terrible loss because of domestic violence and we acknowledge that and we give you again our love and sympathy for that loss. But we admire what you have given and we thank you for what you have given in response.

Rosie’s efforts on the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women has laid the groundwork for real change and now that we’ve made such great headway, we have to keep going and that’s why I’m very pleased to announce today that the Australian Government will provide a grant to the Luke Batty Foundation to support Rosie’s continued advocacy on gender equality and violence against women and their children.

Rosie’s voice will continue to be there. A powerful, persuasive, compelling advocate to tell all of us, to remind all of us, that there has to be a cultural change and that we have to recognise that while not all disrespecting women ends up in violence, that is where all that violence begins and I want to acknowledge and thank Michaelia Cash especially, Senator Cash, who is here today in her capacity as the Minister for Women.

Michaelia you’ve worked closely with Rosie, you’ve helped made this grant possible. You and Rosie have been a great team.

And so on the eve of Australia Day, let us Australians all rejoice and thank you for what you have done to make us the most remarkable nation in the world. We are a remarkable nation. We are the most successful multicultural nation in the world and the foundation of that is selflessness, patriotism, commitment to others and above all mutual respect.

I’ll be so proud to stand with you all at the Australian of the Year Awards tonight and I wish all of you a very, very happy Australia Day.

Thank you very much.